April 24, 2014

Cavaliers Look To Escape Slow Starts of Past Seasons

20131101-190143.jpgYou wish the excitement of an opening night win by the Cleveland Cavaliers would last forever, but ultimately, the excitement fades and the grind of the regular season begins.

The Cavaliers aren’t strangers to opening night wins. Well, at least not in the post-LeBron era, anyway. Believe it or not the Cavaliers were 2-5 in openers with LeBron James on the roster, and are 3-1 in openers in the time since. Of course, some of that1 is due to the Cavaliers being scheduled in a lot of prime opening matchups against other good teams. But still, the post-LeBron Cavaliers have had a lot of success on opening nights.

Of course, those opening night wins haven’t turned out to be the best indicators of how the season was going to go. In 2010, the Cavaliers won what was one of the most memorable opening night games of our lives. It sounds shallow now, but in that moment, playing the first game without LeBron, the fans bonded and stood behind that team for that one night as the Cavaliers knocked off the Boston Celtics, the very team that put an end to the LeBron era. Unfortunately, the team lost their next 3 games en route to a 7-10 record through November. [Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. and by some of that, I pretty much mean all of that []

Cleveland Cavaliers Open the Season with Hope, Excitement, and Something New….Expectations

Cleveland Cavaliers

Season 44 of Cleveland Cavalier basketball tips off tonight at 7:00 at The Q when the Wine and Gold host the new-look Brooklyn Nets. That much we know for sure. Beyond that, so much of this upcoming season is a mystery. But the nice thing about the unknown is that it can offer equal parts hope and excitement.

Hope is nothing new for Cleveland. People often mistakenly assume that Cleveland sports fans are miserable and hopeless. Well, we might be miserable, but for some reason we never let go of hope.

There was hope that the post-LeBron Cavaliers would still make a playoff run with the likes of Mo Williams, JJ Hickson, Antawn Jamison, and Daniel Gibson. There was hope that Byron Scott would bring a fresh, new, exciting brand of basketball to Cleveland. There was hope that Brandon Weeden in his 2nd year would make the leap into a competent QB and lead the Browns to a meaningful season. There was hope that an overachieving Indians team could ride their hot streak into the playoffs and make an improbable run at the World Series.

So maybe our hope isn’t paid off very often. But this unrequited hope is what makes Cleveland sports fans so great. And never is hope more abundant than on opening day of any season. None of this is new. I feel like every year on opening night I write about the hope of a new season and the quality of the unknown and blah, blah, blah. It’s all a fine sentiment, but all it’s ever done recently is precede a gut-wrenching season of miserable basketball. [Read more...]

What to expect from the 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers: A WFNY Roundtable

WFNY_roundtable

Scott: The opening tip is just a few hours away. Speculation and prognostication has ranged from dreamy to dreadful—the Wine and Gold could be on of the league’s surprise teams or they could fall flat on their collective face. The youth and patience that Dan Gilbert and Chris Grant have been touting could finally pay off or the amalgamation of lottery picks could prove to be a bowl full of bust.

With all of this in mind, what do you all expect from the Cleveland Cavaliers? For the sake of  chronology, let’s start with the offseason. The Cavs had quite the summer with regard to the draft and free agent market. Which newcomer will prove to have the biggest positive impact for thee Wine and Gold by season’s end? My thoughts on Jarrett Jack are well-documented by this point, but do you guys feel the same way?

[Read more...]

2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

Kyrie All StarThe 2012-13 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers was an up and down season. Mostly downs, but there were some nice stretches of good basketball mixed in. But the recurring theme of an almost defiant refusal to play any defense whatsoever night in and night out became too much for head coach Byron Scott to survive. And so the Cavaliers begin the 2013-14 season with a new head coach, a new identity and philosophy, a new hope in a veteran All-Star center, a new potential in the #1 overall pick, and a new sense of purpose for achieving a higher goal. And oh yeah, they still have Kyrie Irving, too. Will the new season deliver new results, or will the Cavaliers continue to watch the playoffs from home? Let’s take a closer look at the 2013-14 Cleveland Cavaliers.

Team Name: Cleveland Cavaliers
Last Year’s Record: 24-58 (5th in the Central Division)
Key Losses: Wayne Ellington, Marreese Speights, Shaun Livingston, Daniel Gibson, Omri Casspi, Luke Walton, Byron Scott (coach)
Key Additions: Andrew Bynum (free agent signing), Jarrett Jack (free agent signing), Earl Clark (free agent signing), Anthony Bennett (first round draft pick), Sergey Karasev (first round draft pick), Carrick Felix (second round draft pick), Mike Brown (coach) [Read more...]

Cavaliers-Timberwolves Preview Q&A

Jim Mone, Associated Press

Tonight the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15, 13th in the East) travel to Minnesota to take on the Timberwolves (8-9, 11th in the West). Once again this is another battle of two teams without their starting PGs. This is getting to be a theme for this season with the Cavaliers recently playing Memphis without Mike Conley and Chicago without Derrick Rose. Tonight they take on Minnesota without Ricky Rubio while Kyrie Irving remains out for the Cavaliers. Dion Waiters did not travel with the team and will also miss this game.

For this preview, we’re going to do something a little different. We were approached by John Flesta of the Wolves blog TimberPups.com to do a collaborative Q&A. John and Big Al from TimberPups answered 3 questions about the Wolves that I submitted and I answered 3 questions about the Cavaliers from John. Hope you enjoy the insight from some guys who follow the Wolves on a daily basis. [Read more...]

The Cavaliers Continue to Grind Through Injuries

Is it better to play poorly and win or to play well and lose? The Cleveland Cavaliers (4-14, 13th in the East) have lost quite a few games I’m not sure they deserved to lose this season. The Cavaliers are going through something of an identity crisis at the moment. Or they are a pretty good bad team, or a pretty bad good team?

One of the games they most certainly deserved to lose was the 2nd game of the season against the Chicago Bulls. Tonight the Cavaliers will try to avenge that loss when they host the Bulls (8-8, 4th in the East) at The Q.

The Cavaliers will once again be sans-starting backcourt. PG Kyrie Irving is still out with the finger injury and Dion Waiters is expected to miss this game with an ankle injury. The Bulls know the feeling. They too are missing their starting backcourt as PG Derrick Rose and SG Richard Hamilton are both out as well. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Say Goodbye to November with a Trip to Atlanta

One more road game and November will merciful drift away into our memories.

The Cleveland Cavaliers (3-12, 13th in the East) travel to Atlanta where they will try to say farewell to a trying and disappointing opening month by trying to upset the soaring Hawks (9-4, 4th in the East). The combination of injuries and a brutal schedule, spent mostly on the road, have left the Cavaliers looking weary and sporting an uglier than expected schedule.

Don’t get me wrong, none of us expected the Cavaliers to be good this year. But most of us expected better than 3-12 at this point. Who are the teams worse than Cleveland so far? The Toronto Raptors are half a game back at 3-13 and Washington is a game behind the Cavaliers at 1-12. That’s it. Only two teams in the NBA are off to a worse start than Cleveland. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Road Trip Takes Them to Golden State

The Cleveland Cavaliers have played 4 games this season, and sit at 2-2. In 3 of the 4 games, the Cavaliers were able to feel good about the way they played. Only in the Chicago game last week could their effort and desire really be challenged. This is a good sign for the early season.

Tonight, as they continue their road trip by playing against the Golden State Warriors (2-2), the Cavaliers will try to keep the momentum going. One of the biggest positive for the Cavaliers is that 3 of their 4 opponents have been very good defensive teams this season. In terms of defensive efficiency, the Bulls are 1st, the Bucks are 3rd, and the Wizards are 12th. Only the Clippers (19th) fall in the bottom half of the league.

[Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Look to Move to 2-0 on the Season

On opening night, the Cleveland Cavaliers gave us all a glimpse of some of the highlights, and just a few of the lowlights, that we can expect to see this season. Friday night, as the Cavaliers host the Chicago Bulls, the question will be about consistency.

Against the Wizards on Tuesday, we what the Cavaliers can be. A persistent team capable of outworking their opponents in the paint with a strong backcourt duo to keep opponents honest. We saw some crisp passing, some good cuts off the ball, and just a fun style of team oriented basketball. [Read more...]

Cleveland Cavaliers Welcome Old Friends Washington Wizards For Season Opener

I love opening day of any sport.

I’ve discussed this point ad nauseam, but there’s nothing like that feeling of the unknown. Staring at a blank canvas, and yeah, you’re limited to the colors in your palette, but the possibilities are endless. The season could be anything.

Basketball, of course, is a bit of a different animal though. In baseball, you have a 162 game marathon of a season where injuries, bullpen strength, lucky hitting, etc. are all varying factors that essentially mean anything can happen. In football, you see it happen every year. Some team that is “playoff lock” falters and some team makes a rise from last to first. We just pray that it can be our year1. [Read more...]

___________________________________________________

Footnotes:

  1. of course, in Cleveland it never is []

Some Thoughts on the NBA on the Eve of Season Tip-Off

Happy NBA Season Eve everyone!

Tomorrow the NBA season kicks off with a TNT double header featuring prime matchups between the Celtics and Heat, and the Mavericks and Lakers. But there is one other game tomorrow night, and it’s the most anticipated and sure to be the most watched game of the three.

That’s right, tomorrow night one of the great “rivalries” in the NBA resumes when the Washington Wizards visit our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers. Ok, yes, I’m being facetious. Nobody outside Washington and Cleveland cares about this game, and the Wizards and Cavaliers are not “rivals”, and they never were. But that doesn’t mean we Cavalier fans shouldn’t be filled with excitement over another season about to tip off.

We’ll cover more on the Cavaliers specifically tomorrow, but for today, I wanted to kick off general NBA coverage with some overall generic thoughts on the NBA as a whole. There’s been some huge moves in the offseason, and another monumental shift occurred this weekend when the Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. So lets get into some of the main storylines of this NBA season (along with some musical interludes to enjoy as we go along). [Read more...]

2012-13 Cleveland Cavaliers Preview

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas. It’s NBA preseason! Training camp, conditioning, meaningless preseason games. We’ve got it all! But the real reason I love this time of year is because it means the NBA season is right around the corner. It’s so close I can feel it.

With the excitement Kyrie Irving gave Cavaliers fans last year, most of us can’t wait to see what he does this year. So with the 2012-13 NBA Blogger Previews upon us, what better time to look into this upcoming season than now? Let’s take our first look at the biggest questions facing this team this year as we dig into this year’s iteration of the Cleveland Cavaliers:

[Read more...]

Tonight We Say Farewell to the 2011-12 Cleveland Cavaliers

Media Day seems like just last week

The last time the Cleveland Cavaliers played on a Thursday was January 12th, the 3rd week of the season. You see, Thursday nights are typically the big matchup nights. It’s the night TNT has TV rights and other than their premiere games, there’s usually only one or two overflow games.

So it’s fitting, then, that the Cavaliers finish the season on a Thursday night in Chicago, buried underneath the hype and excitement of the NFL Draft. While Browns fans are anxiously greeting the newest members of their team, Cavaliers fans are saying goodbye to their players.

In a season in which the Cavaliers were mostly ignored outside of Cleveland, save for a handful of people who occasionally flipped over on League Pass to see what that Kyrie Irving guy was doing, the season comes to an end much in the same way it started…quiet, unassuming, and with more questions than answers.

[Read more...]

Cavaliers Continue Final Week of Season in Memphis

Only 3 more chances to watch Kyrie Irving this season

Here we are, three games left in this shortened NBA season for our beloved Cleveland Cavaliers. This 66 game season has been interesting. It feels like the Cavaliers play pretty much every night, which has been amazing as a fan of this team but has to have been incredibly trying on the players.

I’ve maintained all year long that I kind of liked the lockout shortened season. I’ve liked being able to turn on League Pass any given night and having literally like 10 games to watch. It was cool having the league kick off on Christmas, giving the already important holidays game even more importance. Sure, the play at times this season was sloppy due to the hectic struggle, but it was a non stop basketball assault of the sense, and I loved almost every minute of it.

But the problem with a compressed 66 game season is that it’s over just as soon as it begins. It’s hard to believe that this is the final week for the Cavaliers. That after Thursday night in Chicago, we won’t see Kyrie Irving and the rest of our Cavaliers play a real game until late October. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Will Try to Lose By Less Than 39 Points at Home Against Philly

I’m furious with the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-40, 13th in the East). And I hate being mad at the Cavaliers. I love this franchise and I can’t wait for the day when they return to the playoffs and give us fun, rewarding, exciting, meaningful basketball to watch.

What we got last night was the polar opposite of that. The Cavaliers lost by 39 points to a team that was 22-38 going into that game. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Cavaliers were losing 100-50. Thank goodness they weren’t playing at the Q where “The Diff” would have probably fried the whole jumbotron for lack of ability to comprehend a 50 point deficit. Does anyone know if “The Diff” even goes that high (or, rather, that low)?

Look, I don’t care where you fall on the spectrum of this whole tanking issue. Some people like to cheer for lottery position, some people don’t. It doesn’t matter to me. We are all Cavs fans and we all want what’s best for this franchise going forward. We’re on the same team here. But I have to believe that a 39 point loss to Detroit, the Cavaliers’ fourth loss by 35+ points in just 60 games this season, is completely unacceptable for all of us. [Read more...]

Will Cavaliers and Pistons Try To Out-Tank Each Other Tonight?

A couple weeks back, when I first addressed the concept of “tanking” to point out that the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-39, 13th in the East) were entering a stretch of brutal games with key players injured, I wrote that I felt the worst (or best, I guess, depending on your point of view) the Cavaliers could likely finish is 4th worst.

The Cavaliers currently sit 5th worst in the NBA, just one game behind Sacramento for that #4 spot. That’s not the big news, though. The big news is that the New Orleans Hornets are suddenly red hot. I don’t know if it’s the news of Tom Benson buying the franchise or what, but the Hornets have now won 4 straight games and 6 of their last 8 to pull the Cavaliers just 2 games ahead of them. That’s right, folks, the Cavaliers have a legit shot at finishing 3rd worst in the NBA.

Here’s a breakdown of the odds difference from 5th, 4th, and 3rd: [Read more...]

Short Handed Cavaliers Must Make Most of Opportunities Against Toronto

Can Tristan raise his game and his team in Toronto?

It doesn’t seem like that long ago. It was the day after Christmas, a time  of hope, inspiration, and holiday cheer. And on that Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers walked from the swirl of the unknown into reality. We didn’t know what to expect of this team. Kyrie Irving wasn’t the Irving we know today. He was just an idea, and a hope.

Opening night for the Cavaliers didn’t go as most followers of the wine and gold had hoped. Irving had a rough debut and the Cavaliers played pretty poorly in losing to the Raptors. In the weeks that followed, though, we saw glimpses of what this team could be. We saw Irving grow into the almost certain rookie of the year. We saw a team show a phenomenal spirit, a level of fight that kept them in games against far superior opponents and even lead to some big wins against playoff caliber team.

One other thing became clear, too. The Toronto Raptors are like kryptonite to the Cavaliers. No matter how well the Cavaliers could look at their peak, the Raptors were always there to bring out the worst in the Cavaliers. [Read more...]

Spurs Will Provide Formidable Challenge For Cavaliers

I’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news is that Kyrie Irving will be back in the starting lineup for the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-33, 12th in the East) tonight. The bad news is the Cavaliers are playing the San Antonio Spurs (36-14, 2nd in the East).

It’s funny that the Spurs can continue to fly under everyone’s radar. Hardly anyone seems to be talking about them or taking them seriously. Maybe it’s because they lost the opening round as a #1 seed last year. Maybe it’s because people think that because Tim Duncan is old the Spurs are finished. Maybe it’s because the Spurs are just there every year and everyone just kind of got used to seeing them at the top.

Whatever the case may be, the Spurs are sitting just 2.5 games back of Oklahoma City for the top spot in the West. It’s no fluke or happenstance. The Spurs are one of, if not the, best coached teams in the NBA, they have a smart, savvy, veteran core who know how to win Championships, and they sprinkle in the right kind of young players who can learn how to play their role. [Read more...]

Cavaliers Try to Snap Losing Streak at Five

The Cleveland Cavaliers (17-31, 11th in the East), losers of 5 straight and 8 of their last 9 since their impressive mini win streak against Denver, Oklahoma City, and Houston have now officially fallen behind Detroit in the standings and have Sacramento square in their sights.

The Cavaliers’ next opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks (23-27, 9th in the East) and in the middle of a chase of their own, trying to track down the New York Knicks for the 8th spot in the East. The last time these teams played each other was right after the Monta Ellis trade. Ellis didn’t play in that game, but the Bucks have gone 4-3 with Ellis in the starting lineup. However, they have lost 3 of their last 5 overall coming off a season high 6 game win streak. So it’s been an up and down fight for the Bucks as well.

Ellis was supposed to be the extra piece to push the Bucks into the playoffs, but Ellis has struggled adjusting to a new team and a very different system. With the Warriors, he was averaging 21.9 points, 6.0 assists, and 3.4 rebounds, but so far in Milwaukee he’s averaging just 15.1 points, 5.7 assists, and 2.7 rebounds. His 3pt% has dropped from .321 to .143 and his overall FG% is down from .433 to .410. [Read more...]

Cavaliers vs Pistons: Let the Tanking Begin!

TANKING!!!

Welcome to Tank Fest 2012!

Ok, so no, I don’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-30, 10th in the East) are actually tanking. Or, shall I say, losing on purpose. I believe Byron Scott is trying to get his team to play well, and I believe the players are (mostly) trying their hardest to win.

But with the news of Daniel Gibson’s torn tendon threatening his season, and with Anderson Varejao still some time away from returning, the fact is the Cavaliers right now aren’t deep enough and, quite frankly, not good enough, to win very many games.

Tonight’s game against the Detroit Pistons (17-32, 11th in the East), then, is a battle for draft position. If the Cavaliers lose tonight, which would be their 5th in a row, they would be tied with Detroit and looking to move up another slot in the lottery. [Read more...]